It is common to hear about auto recalls in the news or even with the vehicle you currently own or lease. A recall generally occurs when an auto manufacturer identifies a defective component/part, and officially notifies owners of the affected vehicles either directly or through news outlets. The manufacturer will "recall" the vehicles by allowing affected owners to get the components/parts repaired or replaced at no cost.
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is responsible for investigating possible design or manufacturing defects in the vehicles we drive. Sometimes NHTSA will respond when a large number of consumers complain about the same defect in the same vehicle. Other times the auto maker will voluntarily identify defects. In either case, the goal is the get potentially dangerous vehicles off the road and properly fixed.
Virtually every year make and model of every vehicle has a recall at some point. Some vehicles are subject to multiple recalls. You can use NHTSA's VIN lookup tool to see if your vehicle has any open recalls. The link is here: https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls.
Relationship to Michigan's Lemon Law
Similar to the Michigan lemon law, an auto manufacturer has three options: repair the vehicle at no cost to the consumer, replace it, or provide a refund to the consumer. In most cases, recall issues are swiftly repaired. If the recall defect is corrected during one, brief repair, the vehicle will likely not qualify as a lemon.
But a recall can be a signal of a more serious and consistent defects that ultimately qualify the vehicle for Michigan Lemon Law remedies. For example. If the manufacturer is unable to fix the issue (that is covered under the manufacturer's warranty) after a reasonable number of repair attempts, you may have a legitimate claim. Also, if your vehicle is out of service for repairs at least 25 days within the first year from delivery, you may also qualify for Michigan lemon law remedies.
A recall could also cause a decrease in the value of your vehicle. Michigan's lemon law requires a defects that substantially impairs the "use or value" of your vehicle. The consumer need only prove an impairment to one of the two above. A recall that decreases the value of your vehicle may qualify.
How do I know if a Recall equals a Lemon?
If there are multiple recalls, or if a recalled component/part continues to be a problem, you should contact a lawyer to review your case. The severity of the recall and/or the amount of time required to fix it will factor into the analysis.
The Michigan Lemon Law requires repairs for "same defect or condition", so any recall relating to say, the transmission, may be added to other transmission problems you are experiencing.
If there is a recall on your vehicle and you are concerned about the long-term effects, you may have a legal option. You should get the recall performed, but then continue to monitor the issue to see if the vehicle experiences further problems. If they do, contact the Alexander Law Firm at (877) 652-0183.